tv Washington Journal CSPAN August 11, 2009 7:00am-10:00am EDT
later, an update on the congress and health care with gerald from the wall street journal. "washington journal" starts now. >> i have said that the canadian model works for canada. it would not work for the united states. in part simply because we have evolved differently and have an employer-based system and private-based health-care system that stands side by side with medicare and medicaid and our veterans administration health care system. so we have to develop a uniquely american approach to this problem. by the way, this is a problem that all countries will have to deal with at some level because if medical inflation continues at this pace everyone's budgets will be put under strain. we need to provide a sensible
plan for everybody that continues with the role of the private marketplace, but provides those without a realistic and meaningful option. ♪ host: as president obama said in guadalajara, mexico, the canadians healthcare system is not right for the u.s. we what your reaction to that statement. -- we want your reaction to that statement. our twitter address is cspanwj. this is how "usa today" plays it this morning on page 2a.
and, here "the wall street journal" -- obama has to town hall meetings. he plans to hold them in portsmouth, new hampshire, and friday in montana, and saturday in grand junction, colorado. a white house official said that participants would not be screened to keep out opponents. here is the front page of "the
baltimore sun" -- noisy disbelief, opponents dominate the town hall meeting on health care. the center is heckled throughout the session. one of our video journalists was their last night. we will show you the full town meeting this evening at 8:00 p.m., but in this article in the baltimore paper -- they began arriving four hours early, ignoring triple digit heat index levels for a chance to holler at and senator benjamin cardin's town hall meeting. he was heckled almost non-stop. the audience jeered his answers and broken to raucous cheers when their comrades confronted the center with this massive remarks. the baltimore paper's article
goes on to say that many in the crowd laughed uproariously when cardin said that illegal immigrants would not be entitled to coverage under the democratic plan. they jumped to their feet in one of the loudest ovations of the night after an audience member asked why tort are for more is not a feature of the plan for reform. the two opposing groups jostle alongside each other. one woman said "i am not a mob" who works at an assisted living center, referring to the way that the democratic party has described as the angry opponents of obama's top legislative priority. we have been showing you some video from outside the town hall meeting held last night. the full town hall meeting will
be at 8:00 p.m. tonight on c- span. president obama's of the canadian system is not for the u.s.. we what your reaction to that. austin, texas, on the democrat'' line. caller: yes, but that was a ridiculous thing to say and i know that he was probably forced into it by industry. they have criticized and ridiculed the canadian system, but it was silly to say. the people in this country who are in favor of reform would be overjoyed if we got the canadian system. host: baltimore, good morning. caller: yes, the motive behind the president's remarks was mostly to assuage republicans and distancing himself from advocating a single-payer system. it is nearly a curse word in republican circles.
host: florida on the independent line, what do you think about the president's remark? caller: i think it is of the remark. we call them snowbirds. the come here every year in the pay for their own care if they can afford it. [inaudible] illegals, yes, they will get a because there's nothing in the bill that says they cannot. abortion will be paid for it just as it was in massachusetts. host: alexandria, va., on the line for democrats. caller: yes, the canadian system is unique for canada. ours should be unique for the
united states, and i think that is all he is trying to say. these people who are protesting are protesting for the insurance companies. we are trying to help the americans. we need health care. they are out there trying to dismiss this course. we are trying to have a discussion about something to benefit americans. if these people want to act like satan's people, they need to go somewhere else. this is america. host: this is video from last night at the town hall meeting at cardin. this is from the chicago paper this morning. the senate majority whip dick durbin says that obama is ready to deal on health care. he would like to get something passed for healthcare reform and then start to negotiate and a house senate conference committee. dick durbin told five small-
business owners this of health care meeting in chicago on monday. michigan, on the independent line, you are on the air. what do you think? caller: you know the thing that is confusing right now is republicans acting up and shameful. we do not know what the president's plan is. we do not even know what the canadian plan is. i am not interested in the canadian plan. i served in the military. we are an american. we do not need to copycat plans. this is america. these crybabies out there, a bunch of half-wit's do not know what they're talking about. i'm waiting on the president's town hall meeting today so that i can understand better what the real program is about, you know? it is just irresponsible for people to make these ridiculous comments about death panels and
killing all the folks -- this is ridiculous. nobody in this country would stand for that, especially myself. host: at 8:00 a.m. this morning you can speak with linda douglass, the director of communications from the white house center for health care reform. hear from "the hill" newspaper, democrats fight back on health care at town halls. they stepped up their response on monday to what they consider to be contrived harassment campaign against their health care plan. coordinated efforts come from the white house, and democratic leaders, and allied groups. organizing for america, the successor to president obama's grass roots campaign organization, sought to counter confrontations by asking members to visit their lawmakers' offices to show support for the health care legislation. the white house set up the
website to the bunker opponent'' claims, including one that the bill would lead to euthanasia. that new website debuting today is called whitehouse.gov/realitycheck. caller: today in the "the wall street journal" -- "tone deaf health care campaign is probably the best article that writer has ever written. it says no such thing has come about since president bush had demonstrators with swastikas.
in obama's situation it took this battle over health care too revealed the bloom coming off of his rose. obama does not need to fear the agitators, but rather americans who have been sitting quietly in their homes listening to him. people can scream. the demigod party can scream at these meetings, but it is when they sit down and listen to what he has to say and what this means -- it would be worse than canada. canada has some restraint. america does not have any restraint when it comes to spending. host: new york city democrat,
you're on the air. caller: yes, i hope that you will give me as much time as the republican because i will speak my own words, not an article. canada's health care is such a mess. when they did a poll us to would be deemed the greatest canadian ever was not the founding father, the military man. it was tommy douglas, the man who founded canada's health care system. he was deemed the greatest canadian in their history. secondly, i will tell you my personal expense. that first day on vacation in vancouver by has been will cope with a terribly swollen foot and it turned out to be his first attack of gout which he had never before had. the hotel concierge arranged the employment with us for dr. on wilson street which is the equivalent of a doctor on park avenue here. beautiful office and we got seen
quite a way. the doctor's been quite a bit of time. but only examined him and told him what was wrong and gave him medication and a device he could use to walk around vancouver, but when it came to paying the bill -- they said $15. i was very embarrassed. i said we are not canadians, but americans. they said we know. and if you were a canadian it would be free. when my husband -- when mike son was in a certain city he never paid a dime. now we're sending a granddaughter there and god forbid they should get sick, but should the issue will be sick. the canadians work after the ending of their government is not bought and paid for the way that arses and that is why there is worse and ours does not. shame on obama. he once bipartisanship because he knows he got elected with a lot of republican support. i voted for him and will again,
but i think he is being weak on this issue and he ought to hammer it home. host: tweet here. here is the front page of "the times begipicayune." baton rouge, louisiana, a republican, hello. please go ahead with your comment. caller: well, for one thing, we're not canadians. another thing, if they would read the polls, they would
understand the people do not want obama's health care. i do not know why they cannot get that in their heads. it is very clear to me that they do not want obama as health care. he needs to keep his , his , uh, union goons, and acorn out of these meetings. here is an e-mail message. host: minn., on the independent line, good morning. caller: i think everyone should
be able to buy into medicare. i am on medicare. also, there is one political party in particular that keeps saying the government cannot do anything right -- well, they do not seem to call for the dismantling of the defense to permit. they could always go to their insurance agent and buy insurance to protect them from an attack by that philosophy. they would love to buy their insurance man apportion before the good to their doctor, but are afraid of anything else. -- there would love to buy their insurance man a porsche rather than going to their doctor. caller: first of all, what president obama has said is something he has repeated all along -- whatever system we come up with it will be uniquely american and will address the needs of the american people. secondly, i do not understand what these people complain about
universal health care and " deadbeats and illegal aliens getting health care" when our constitution guarantees that all prisoners and the federal prison system like charles manson, bernard of madoff, the guy who tried to blow up the world trade center -- all these are guaranteed health care. finally, i lived in japan for eight years. in terms of health care, it was the best that i ever had. i had to have eye subdue while there. i did not have to go through some gatekeeper, did not have to pay some large copiague, but went directly to an ophthalmologist who diagnosed the problem and my problem was fixed -- i did not have to even pay co-pay. i do not understand what these people are afraid of. i think they are afraid that
there will be convinced that health care reform is good for them and they do not want to be convinced. host: monroe, alabama, good morning. caller: i have been listening and i don't understand people thinking this will be good for our system. there will not be enough general practitioners to take care of all these people will be thrown into the system. i have had good health care all these years and with insurance companies it can be made competitive, but the democrats are determined to do this whether or not we wanted. that is one thing that is making people so angry. it is just being shoved down our throats. host: thank you. here is an e-mail from michigan. san diego, what do you think about president obama's remarked
that the canadian system is not for the u.s.? caller: thank you for taking my call. i think that is self evident. we're not canada, they are not as. they do not want our system and their system would not apply to this country. -- and they are now us. i think that obama needs to be more specific. it is so vague. -- we are not can a debt and they are not us. they think we will give a socialist just the way the communist plan was planned in moscow. it is becoming so divisive. i am almost ready to say okay, just forget reforming health care. it is driving this country in two directions. there is no reason for it.
no reason for these hot-headed -- you know, practically riots. no, it is not worth it. we are divided, polarized enough. host: thank you. robert tweets. host: this is from "the boston globe" -- from the website. eunice kennedy shriver died at 88 last night. in your article hear you right that she was the most intellectually gifted of the kennedy sisters. guest: that is true, peter.
it was a very competitive family as we all know from the kennedy lore. among the sisters, mrs. shriver was always seem to be the brightest and most ambitious. she is the one who broke out of having to go to convince goals and went to the university and became a social worker. host: what besides the special olympics was to be most remembered for? guest: within the family, one big role was her close bond with rosemary, the older sister who was developmentally-disabled and from whom she drew inspiration to work so closely and diligently and tirelessly with intellectually-challenged people through the years. on a personal level it was
something there in her home from the get-go. when her mother suffered a stroke back in 1984, then she was the one who really oversaw care for her sister rosemary. she was the guiding force within the family, and from the biographies we see that she was the sister who jack was also said to be closest to. host: what were her activities on her brother's presidential and senatorial campaigns? guest: actually, it goes multi- generational. she had worked with her brothers' campaigns, everything from the setting up of coffee's back when jack kennedy was running for congress and for the
senate all the way through to campaigning door-to-door when her husband sergeant shriver was a vice-presidential campaign. she campaigned for nieces and nephews, for her sons. she was quite tirelessly on the campaign trail. and also with gov. schwarzenegger. she was not someone who just showed up at dinners. she went door-to-door and shook hands and spoke with people. host: finally, two of the nine of that generation's kennedy siblings are left, correct? guest: that is right, gene kennedy smith, and senator kennedy. host: can you give us an update on senator kennedy's condition? guest: nothing beyond what we have all been following with his condition, other than to say that certainly we have known and heard that he has spent time
with his sister, even just some weeks ago when mrs. shriver was up and about, even sailing with her. but what he is facing is quite serious. it has been remarkable that he has been able to do so much through these last month. host: and an update on gene guest: kennedy smith nothing new about mrs. smith -- jean kennedy smith, other than the role she has taken over as the oldest of the surviving siblings. host: the reporter from "the boston globe" on its website. thank you. back to the conversation about health care. houston, texas, what you think about president obama's remark? caller: thank you for taking my
call, too. he is saying that the united states is bigger and better. we are trying to get what is best for the u.s. and everybody. everybody is not rich and is not fortunate enough to have insurance. i worked for k-mart for years and when they close down my insurance went with it. if we had something to go to when you lose your job, going to insurance, that means the government would have to pay, but if they can afford insurance for everyone rich and poor -- they do not realize that. they are very selfish. they say that they have insurance. people are in jail and they get
care -- by not make it affordable for everyone? i worked all my life and i never have had anything. right now my husband and i -- i am 67, and so was my husband. he has been ill with a strip. -- he has been ill with a stroke. host: thank you. this is the front page of the arizona paper. passions are running high in the debate over reform. these are gentleman debating health care outside the town hall meeting that was held by rep giffords. a message from twitter, from joe. host: minn., a republican, hi.
caller: yes, i think the president's remarks were disingenuous. i think he is lying right now. he has been taped stating the fact that he was for a single- payer system. it is exactly like the canadian or british system. i think his plan is to get something passed, a first step toward the single-payer system. the way that hr 3200 is written, this government plan will run at all private-sector -- will run out all private sector insurance in this country. there's no doubt. it is written plainly in sections 102. host: have you read the bill?
caller: yes, i have. host: how did you get a copy of it? you downloaded it? caller: from you. i look online at c-span.org and i read it. host: florida, a democrat. caller: good morning, i support president obama. i would like to tell the american people that they should go with mr. barr dylan's -- bob dylan's song -- it is just as true now from 1964. with the media are doing -- there giving some of voice to those who are not even the majority, but they're so aggressive. if the american people do not grow up our country will go completely down the drain. host: here again is the front
page. noisy disbelief, senator benjamin cardin held a town hall meeting on health care last night. here are the pictures. c-span tape this town hall meeting and you can watch it tonight at 8:00 p.m. we will turn our attention to afghanistan next. ♪ >> every morning this month, "washington journal" talks live with non-fiction authors. these are the authors we will speak with. we will take your phone calls, and females, and tweets, beginning this friday morning. -- and you tweets and e-mails.
>> on this show, ellis cose, sunday night on c-span. >> this fall, enter the home of america's highest court. from grand public places to those only accessible by the nine justices. the supreme court, coming the first sunday in october on c- span. "washington journal" continues. host: andrew, this is the front page from yesterday. general rick crystals remarks that the taliban is the winning, do you agree? -- general mcchrystal's remarks. guest: i do agree that in the counter insurgency if you are not winning coming need to seize back control. but it is not like any of these
insurgent groups in afghanistan will be able to march on kabul successfully in the next 12 months. what we are fearing is that this campaign of fear and intimidation that taken place in cities, especially of southern afghanistan -- that is what we fear. the taliban is beating us in that silent war. not so much the shooting, connecticut or. host: what do you mean by the silent war? -- not so much in the shooting come kinetic war. guest: when we track activities, we track how they are shooting at us. we are bad at tracking what the enemy is doing to the population. even though we talk about the importance of counter- insurgency in protecting the publishing, to a large degree we have low visibility on the way that the taliban is moving into
the city and into different districts. -- which have about the importance of counter-insurgency and protecting the population, but not these other things. this will look like a steady campaign of fear and intimidation that makes canada garlic inhospitable -- kandahar in house builinhospitable. it is not as if the taliban will world thinks the kabul, but we're losing in this silent were for the people. we need to do a better job of protecting the people, especially those at risk. host: is there a fair comparison to vietnam? guest: in another way, which is both in vietnam and afghanistan one of the weaknesses of
prosecuting a counterinsurgency campaign is a third party. you depend upon that third government to do certain things for you to be successful. one of the challenges we face with afghanistan is a weak afghan government in some cases, and one in other cases that is predatory towards afghan people. we are facing a difficulty there. not only do we have to defeat this network or that on the field of battle, but also have to build up afghan institutions, especially in the security forces the will be strong. that will also not be predatory. host: this morning in "the financial times" -- the u.s. shifts stance on of can war. barack obama administration has raised the stakes by including a full-scale attack on illegal narcotics.
they have authorized the killing or capturing 50 drug lords. guest: yes, i am deeply skeptical of counter-narcotics operations in afghanistan and their ability to have an effect on any insurgent groups. the financing for a group like the taliban -- the support that they get from the narcotics trade is almost -- not important, but if they can get other support from financing from a the gulf -- there are other ways, so i'm skeptical. but it tracking key power brokers, not only narcotics traffickers, but those who have ties to the insurgency, the government, the drug trade, and who are manipulating the government and preying upon the
afghan people. the afghan people want government, but are getting the government the kowtows to these brokers, allowing them to appropriate land. so, if we target these power brokers, and not necessarily kill or capture -- but building up intelligence against them. one of the problems is that with respect to intelligence we are good at gathering it on the enemy, those who are shooting at us. we're bad at mapping social networks on the local environment. we need to be successful with these. host: what is your background and what are your active in this discussion? guest: i was was in one of the first conventional units deployed in afghanistan in spring 2002.
i later went back there in 2004 as part of the special operations unit. after leaving the army i went to graduate school at the american university in beirut and lived in the middle east for several years learning arabic which is not spoken in afghanistan, but just spent a lot of time in the arabic-speaking world and middle east. i developed an interest in counter insurgency warfare largely to make sense of what we were doing back in 2002-2004. i think became interested by been really bad at that. on the ground we believed that by pursuing the decapitation strategy, especially in iraq against former regime leaders, we would be about to end the cycle of violence. while that is an important part of any counterinsurgency strategy, if you think that just
by decapitation you will have an effect on violence, you are mistaken. we realized this and need to protect the people, to create a secure space for political activity to take place. for institutions to grow. this is as true and afghanistan as it was in iraq. host: let's take some calls for our guest, andrew exum. he is a former soldier in both countries. good morning, california. caller-- from georgia. caller: yes, i was looking at this situation where their comrades of the army and there were out there with no shirt on, smoking pot. how long are we supposed to be
there? our military is exhausted. we have been fighting for almost 10 years with the same soldiers who do not have respect for the military. we need to figure out how to give that country -- if they do not care, but i think they do -- they have their own with their tribal mentality. i do not see how we will go there and turn around their country within one or two years. guest: the caller has put her finger on two key issues. the way in which the u.s. military is exhausted after nearly nine years of continuous fighting. this is being felt within the u.s. military institution. the second is the need to build up afghan security forces, but the army and thepolice.
sometimes it is said that the army is good, but not the police who can be said to be predatory. but i think even the army needs a lot of help. so far it has been a success story for the u.s. and allies. but they still need a lot of help. we're still bringing units on line, especially in the south. we also need to partner with these afghan units. it is not enough to roll them off the assembly line. you have to increase the degree to which we are building capacity and afghan units. the afghan national police have been a real headache. not only are they seen as incompetent, but sometimes even predatory towards the afghan people, shaking them down at checkpoints, committing atrocities.
we are seeing as compulsive. we gave them uniforms and weapons. it is a real headache. -- we are seeing at complicit. we must partner with them at every level to ensure that they are not being predatory towards the people and to make sure the units continue to improve with time. the caller put your finger right on the button. we will not succeed in afghanistan over the next 12 months. we needed 10-year plan. it does not mean fighting for the next 10 years, but may be fighting for the next 24 months, and then a transition period, and then after that we move into and oversight position. but our aid to the afghan stick will continue for the
foreseeable future, even decades. host: the next call comes from iowa city, a republican. caller: great presentation, a lot of intelligence. i don't see us ever getting out of afghanistan. president obama says we will be pulling out, but i think will be there as long as we have in korea or germany. what would happen and some of these different tribes -- they all look different, but what would happen with some of these young girls if we pulled out tomorrow? so many schools have been built by the u.s. guest: i am in complete agreement with you. i do not see complete pulling out. the situation along the lines of continued involvement in either
korea or germany is more likely. but in 30 years if the situation looks like south korea i would be pretty happy. with respect to the tremendous gains we have made in education, the country has seen an explosion in the number of children educated. more people have moved into the school house in afghanistan than anywhere else on earth and the last five years. many have been women. when women get educated, entire families do. daughters teach their mothers how to read and fertility rates down. you do not have these women caring for massive families with very little means of support. on the other hand, our priority in afghanistan or the next 12-18 months is stabilization.
while development projects like education and building hospitals is important, we need to focus on the drivers of conflict there at the local level. it might be irrigation. in some of mib land disputes. we need to focus on these individual drivers of conflict. -- in some places it might be land disputes. host: here are the phone numbers if you would like to speak with an truthexum. -- with andrew exum. you can also tweet or e-mail us. bolling, in southeast kansas. caller: good morning. it is a wonderful day here in kansas. please excuse my throat. it is nice to see this grave.
i hope that you are having good weather there, too. the problem with afghanistan is comparable to the complex problem we have had in iraq come iran -- all of those areas. i was a teacher under contract in orange county, calif. to a muslim skull. in the first five minutes of the mother lied to me. -- in a muslim school. they said i would teach in the new building, but i was put it behind the building in in illegal room with about 30 children and the second grade. i could not teach every friday morning for the noise in the mosque.
there was a loud speaker for women who could not go inside on those days, but had to sit outside. host: could you please route this out? caller: i will try, darling. the muslim people feel, the men feel that they really respect women and they do not at all. but they do not even know the meaning of it. it is a terrible problem. host: any reaction? guest: the muslim world it is as the verse as the rest of america. we have millions ofmuslims here in this state who have adopted pretty well to our local norms. norm's across those other worlds it differ from country to country. oftentimes these traditions that you see a real pre-islamic tribal traditions that have
imposed themselves on islam. so, the problem is really more these tribal traditions. host: here is a message from twitter. guest: there is a lot i could not get into for obvious classification reasons. i just got back from two months working with the general on his initial review. i can say that even though we are heartened by the death of m assoud, we really need in order to be successful, it needs some movement against the safe havens
for the network in pakistan right now. in the past, if not the pakistani government, elements within the military or intelligence services have supported the network. elements of the taliban. these groups are a threat to the afghan state. they see the regime as being overly friendly towards india, so they are sheltering these as an asset on behalf of pakistan. it will be difficult to be successful meaningfully in afghanistan as long as group like this network and the taliban continue to be harbored without interference on the pakistani side of the border. host: this morning this writer writes the article saying
"american officials have grown increasingly disenchanted with karzai's leadership of the past five years. " guest: yes, it is certainly cause for concern. one of the things we realized this summer is that governments, the ability to govern, or degree to which is correct, or taking predatory actions -- this is a winner of this position. will not fall to the network or the taliban anytime soon, but we have been discharged and largely by the way, some of the behavior that thoughkarzai government has engaged -- that the karzai has engaged in of the last few years. the corruption. everywhere i went this past
summer, every direction -- all over afghanistan, each identified government corruption. we have some issues with that karzai regime. the difficulty is that we must have a strategy for after the elections, and political strategy in place to protect key provincial governors who are seen as effective. if we lose them, and the provincial governors, we are in a tough situation. let's say that karzai does win reelection, and he uses some of those deals to put key supporters and to government ministries we see as crucial for our mission success, then we have a real problem. the important thing for both the u.s. and allies is to have a political strategy, a unit one, for what happens after the
election regardless of who wins. host: the election is august 20. is there a chance the hamid karzai could lose? guest: i'm pretty sure that he will win in the first round, and whether there will be enough votes to get to a second round it will be up in the air. but he has distinct advantages. what i fear more than anything else is not so much whether karzai or the other wins, but already there is a sense in afghanistan that this election is corrupt and will not be legitimate. if you give me $5 i could go into the streets and buy you a voter registration card. you also could vote in the afghan election. that is highly disconcerting. in this environment karzai were
to win with a very small margin percentage of the vote, we could face serious domestic unrest there. additionally, if you were to win by some improbable figure like 85%, then we would also be staring at some significant political unrest. it is something that american policymakers and nato allies need to be concerned with. the security plan for the election itself is pretty solid. i am worried about our political plan afterward. host: stephen, boston, thank you for holding. caller: hey, how are you doing? i'm calling in reference to the new stance in the anti-narcotics position taken for afghanistan. implications will be far- reaching around the world.
especially in mexico on the border for people will directly lose lives because we're taking away something -- it outdates any u.s. involvement in the middle east. i think we should just remind our business. host: mr. exum? guest: i agree to a certain extent. when the taliban conducts operations in southern afghanistan they often check with the local villagers to make sure it is an ok time to begin a major offensive. the locals might ask them to wait until after the pot the harvest. and they will agree to wait for three or four weeks. the taliban is very good at minding the local concerns, but
we're not good at this. poppy production has risen sky- high over the last few years. that is a change in afghanistan. yes, its cultivation has been a constant in afghanistan, but at varying levels. certainly poppy cultivation of the last three or four years has risen much higher than is traditional. host: on our democrats line, lloyd from bronx, new york. caller: i have paid a lot of attention to what has been going on with the afghan war and what was going on in iraq. if you look at china, russia, there is not muchwar waging going on with those two. but with america we are always trying to prop up or stop a government, take down the regime. what what happened -- i know the answer, but i want to hear your impression -- if america left
afghanistan right now, today? because we have to have some tight ofend to this. it seems like it is going on forever. -- we need to have some kind of end to this. other nations are not doing that. if we left today in terms of the taliban and other segments, will be your notion of what would happen afterwards? guest: yes, he has expressed a concern of many americans, especially after the never ending more in both iraq and afghanistan. let me point out that both china and russia do wage wars. china has serious domestic disturbances in some of their own provinces and russia invaded georgia one year ago.
but if we left afghanistan, that is a big unanswered question. i apologize that iti do not have a great answer for you. the argument of how serious or important our interests are there if we were to pull out -- i do not think that the taliban would take over immediately. we would be able to use some standoff fire power to keep the taliban and network from taking over the government and kabul. the key issue is whether afghanistan becausea, an area in which al qaeda and other transit-national terrorist groups can plot against the u.s., and b, whether we create this chaos there that destabilizes pakistan and the rest of the area. that is where we have concerns. we do not know the consequences
of an american withdrawal. i am cautious of articulating for an immediate withdrawal until we realize the consequences. we do have interests in both afghanistan and the greater region we want to protect. host: michael sawyer, the former head of the bin laden unit of the cia was on this show on sunday. get your reaction to that. >> the when mission we had after 9/11 was to destroy as much of the taliban and al qaeda that we could -- the one mission. so, it is hard to leave no answer we were not worried about those guys after all. but i think that we're getting to the point on the other hand that we are not concerned about losing another like over there and afghanistan. you'd be talking about 500,000 american troops to win and a very aggressive, but war. if we're not willing to do that,
i think american parents have a right to demand their children get out of there. guest: i think he has put his finger on something very important. on the one hand, we definitely have interest in buffet and stain afghanistan and need to me it inhospitable to elements like the taliban and al qaeda. but on the other hand, they have limited utility -- in other words come how long and how much money we spend their come how many lives we spend is an open question. it is difficult to quantify that. difficult to ask how many lives afghanistan is worth. to lennar dollars billion more? difficult to quantify. -- $200 billion more?
i am not sure that i agree with mr. michael sawyer, but by boosting the size of the afghan national security forces we can get this trrop-to-task ratio that would be more favorable rigid troop-to-task level. the first question he posed is the question. we know that afghanistan is were something, but are not sure how much more expenditure is worth. host: laguna woods, calif., on the independent line. caller: like most libertarians i have the operating assumption that our political class is filled with power-hundred control freaks, and that the press corps are their faithful cronies. in afghanistan a principal
factor of corruption is drug prohibition. we have tried crop substitution, eradication in colombia and it has failed to work. what is the administration's response to that? how do they think it will work in afghanistan after failing for decades in colombia? have you ever heard any journalists ask the administration that question? guest: mike has faithfully said the libertarian line. there are important debate about how important counter-narcotics are there and whether they advance our agenda. there is a bigger debate within the administration. i am not sure it has been covered well by the press corps, but it may be because of access issues, not for lack of
reporting. in washington things are a bit more opaque. host: finally, this message from twitter. guest: in afghanistan, historically, there has been this tension between tribe, state, and religion. you have it three competing elements of influence. you can build an afghan state that will be inhospitable toward al qaeda or other terrorist groups that would seek to attack the west. . .
in south waziristan. an area along pakistan with afghanistan where out kind of leaders are believed to be hiding. . american troops have been killed in three separate clashes in afghanistan. so far this month 24 u.s. and nato troops have died. more on the possible transfer of guantanamo detainees to fort leavenworth. congressman mike skelton is telling the obama administration that the kansas penitentiary is a bad place because students may stop
attending. there could be a problem of putting american prisoners in the same location as foreign prisoners. jack murtha said the order for new congressional jets will be scrapped. the top defense appropriators offered to eliminate funding for the of things, and house speaker pelosi supported the decision. host: now on your screen is linda douglass, director of communications for the office of white house health reform. you got beat up today in the "wall street journal." , your reaction to one part of the article. he writes about your remark of sending e-mails to the white house.
guest: you are asking me to comment? host: yes, ma'am. guest: we are simply asking people who want health care reform legislation to send their request to the white house. if they run across something that is disturbing because there are a number of myths and stories that are being circulated out there by opponents, we are asking them to send that to us, and we will be posting the facts about that. tens of thousands of americans tend e-mails to their government members asking questions. if you have heard something that
worries you, like the government taking over your health care -- which is not true -- if you forward about euthanasia, which is also complete the false -- you know, there is a lot of disturbing information. all we're doing is asking you to send us that information, and we will send information back. host: president obama will be attending a town hall meeting. will you be as well? guest: no, we will be here working all day. the president will be talking about some of the unfair insurance regulations that prevent some many people from getting insurance and health care they need. insurance is the night because
you are sick or because you have a pre-existing medical condition, and they use that as an excuse to deny you coverage. host: then he goes on to a couple more town hall meetings? guest: yes, he will be looking at these interest regulations. we are going to making those regulations illegal. no longer will insurance companies. but to deny you covered from a pre-existing coverage. they cannot be able to withdraw your coverage because you are sick. these town halls over the next several days will be focusing on those concerns. we are going to change the rules so that even people with insurance that will be protected from those regulations. host: that will be today from new hampshire at 1:00. if you want to talk to linda
douglass, republicans, 202-737- 0001. democrats, 202-737-0002. independents, 202-628-0205. before we go to phone calls, whitehouse.gov/realitycheck. guest: that is the website we have set up to debunk these myths and disinformation. for example, several of our staff members, physicians on staff working under former have provided many of answers to some of these questions about whether your medicare benefits would be cut. absolutely not. we are talking about getting with -- rid of waste and fraud. we will be coordinating care so that you will not be bounced around between six different
doctors and there would be one provider coordinating your care who would know what kind of medication you got. those are the types of changes we are talking about burning to medicare. -- bringing to medicare. host: linda douglass, you spend a couple of years at knbc. guest: that is right. i was in the news for about 10 years before coming here. host: first phone call from defiance, ohio. caller: good morning. i do not know exactly where this lady is getting her information from. i read the policy you have on the bethpage -- web page. section 29 clearly states in
black and white that there will be a committee that will come along and decide if the procedure you are to get is financially feasible or not, and if you have quality of life after the procedure. if it is not financially feasible, you will be denied the procedure in the bill. that is the bill you have on your web page. guest: this is health insurance reform. this is legislation that will make it possible for people to find affordable health insurance options. people who do not have insurance, are afraid of losing their insurance because of changing jobs, this will lower cost for all americans by getting rid of waste, which is driving up the health care costs. premiums have gone up three times faster than wages.
you are getting paid in health insurance benefits, rather than wages. there is no committee that is going to tell you whether you can live or die, based on cost. these are myths, these are rumors. there will be private land available for people to choose from, and people who have insurance at work, the vast majority of americans, that will not change. your employer will continue to provide your insurance. for the vast majority of americans, the only thing that will change it is you will be protected against these unfair interim regulations that will deny you for a pre-existing condition, should you change policies in the future. host: first phone call. caller: thank god for c-span.
my question and concern is that people are concerned about the public auction -- option and employers will be dropping people from their job. should there be some component that would encourage the employer to keep their people on health coverage, like with a tax cut or a cause where people are eligible only for a public auctiooption? if i made $2 million a year, i could afford my own coverage. so if there is not a component in the legislation, would it be a good idea to put in a component that would encourage
those who have their insurance with their job to keep it? guest: in fact, there are provisions exactly as you described in the legislation that would encourage employers to continue with health insurance. the congressional budget office, which analyzes how these programs will work, have concluded that the number of employers offering insurance will rise as a result of reform. there are incentives to keep employer-based insurance and going, and there are disincentives to drop that insurance. several bills look at ways to strongly encourage employers to keep that going. if you have insurance at work, nothing is going to change, except the insurance cost and
cost of health care will eventually lower. you will also have the security of knowing if you change your job, moved to another state, you will have affordable insurance options. let me make another point about the health insurance exchange. we hope it will contain a public auction that is a non-profit, low cost option. the exchange will be available to people who do not have insurance, are not offered enough insurance from their employers, small businesses, which are now being forced to pay exorbitant costs. that is what the exchange is four. -- is for. host: next phone call from raleigh, north carolina. on the independent mind. caller: -- line.
caller: you talked about government and health care, and i see people at home who are healthy. why can't they get a job? we are not talking about the people raping our system doing nothing. guest: we certainly want to see everyone be in church. you want to bring everyone in the system. right now the average working family pays $1,000 to cover the costs for caring for the uninsured. of course, many people are uninsured not of their own will. either they cannot afford it or they were denied, or they were dropped because they got sick and the insurance company found an excuse to withdraw insurance.
we want to make health insurance affordable for young people. we want to bring everyone in the system so that everyone is injured, and that will lower the cost for everyone. host: jim tweets -- guest: certainly, town halls are always open to the public. i think you have seen these town halls around the country are open to the public. there have been many strong points expressed and we want there to be a discussion of health insurance reform. health care is the most personal issue in this country. what we hope is possible is to have a civil discussion about what reform will mean to them, their family, and to the
economy. they deserve the opportunity to ask questions of their elected representatives. we hope that will happen. host: what is your prediction as to the reaction from speaker pelosi and harry reid's article yesterday? guest: there are certainly many different opinions. kathleen sebelius was speaking and a woman introduced her, and the minute they introduced her, people were screaming at her and telling her to shut up. there is certainly a hope that we can have several discussions. americans really want to talk about this and the elected representatives want to hear from you. we hope there williwill be robut debate. there is nothing with that, but
it needs to be civil. host: wallace, kansas. go ahead. caller: right now the only thing we have to go by concretely, for those opposed were in favor of health-care reform, it is legislation. if we are happy with our present insurance, we will be able to maintain that. yet, if any changes are made to our plan at work, if we have a child, and someone to the policy, or we lose our job, then we would have to factor the effective date of this plan and go with the government option, leaving private insurance to
wither on the vine. do you find it perhaps the disingenuous of the president to criticize those who are making the claims who he says are false sense when it says that in the legislation? why does the president not come up with a plan of his own, with his points about what it will not include? host: thank you. guest: all of the legislation that has emerged out of five committees have completed their work, and all of the legislation is based upon the president's principles, lowering costs, protecting americans from under insurance regulation, letting you keep your doctor and plan, providing more affordable options, and providing affordable care. when you talk about employer-
based insurance, this reform will be based upon that system. no one is talking about changing that system. if you have coverage at work, we are encouraging employers to continue that coverage. if your employer makes a change, if they decide they will reduce or benefits, if you lose your job or change your job, then you would have the option of seeking insurance in the exchange. in the exchange would be private plans for you to choose from for your family, like one-stop shopping. among the options you could choose from, we hope, will be a public option that will be low cost. but you could also choose a private plan. there is nothing that says anyone has to select the public auction -- option.
host: next phone call. juan from california. go ahead. caller: i would commend the president obama for what he is trying to do at once. i receive social security disability insurance. i was unable to afford cobra benefit continuation. eventually i lost insurance. now when i receive my social security benefits, i have to pay half of my money to doctor visits and especially for medications. people who are under age 65 and on social security disability have to wait two years before they can get medicare. is there anything in the works to make it automatically available?
guest: i do not know if i have the precise answer to your question. some of the legislation deals with people who have retired prior to being eligible for medicare. there will be subsidies and encouragement to employers to continue on the coverage you have received at work if you retire. there will also be assistance for low-income medicare recipients. one thing i want to emphasize is how americans who will be seeking help the insurance on the health exchange, low income americans will be provided with subsidies. the level of those subsidies is being worked on the different committees, but there is a lot of assistance available for low income people who need help affording health care. with your specific question to ssi, i do not have an answer for you, but if you want to submit your question, we would
certainly work on it. host: upper marlborough, maryland. go ahead. caller: i continue to hear you and the president -- i heard him in virginia at kroger's. he told a senior that she would be able to go to the doctor but the physician needs to be in the room. i am on medicare and i have a private physician. i am also an insolent diabetic, and i also see a room toward arthritis specialist. how am i going to get all of these people in my primary care physicians office? guest: nothing will change for you. we are talking about looking at systems where someone will know
what each doctor has recommended for you. you will still be able to visit your doctor, received your medication which is currently covered by medicare. either way, for those seniors who fell into that medicare does not hold, their expenses will go way down. the deal not call, the high expense pocket -- the doughnut hole, the high expense that people had to pay from their pocket, that will be reduced. someone will know what medications each of these doctors have provided to you, what treatment each of them has recommended, so that it will protect you from medical errors. if you are at the hospital, hopefully, there is someone who can follow your care so that you do not have to return right after you leave.
host: finally, crenshaw tweets in -- guest: the president said early on if we could start from scratch, maybe that would be a good idea, but that is not what we are doing and that is not what he has ever called for. we are building health insurance reform upon the existing employer-based system of private insurance. four out of five committees have passed legislation now built on the president's principles, keeping what you have, based on employer-systems, continuing with that coverage, but also providing high quality and affordable care for all americans, to provide the security. host: linda douglass, office of white house reform, please come back.
thank you. we are going to be talking to the mayor of phoenix later about the economic conditions in his city. we will also have someone from the "wall street journal." just to remind you, at 1:00 today, president obama's town hall meeting in new hampshire. it will be live on c-span. at 8:00 tonight, senator ben cardin of maryland held a town hall meeting last night. we taped it, and we will show you that in its entirety. the 30 minutes now for your phone calls. we have a lot of things to talk about, afghanistan, health care, but there are several other topics to talk about. you can see the numbers on the screen. republicans, 202-737-0001.
democrats, 202-737-0002. independents, 202-628-0205. please allow 30 days between your calls so that others may get in. cspanwj is our twiter address. this from "the daily news." who wears the pants suit? a university student took the microphone to ask about the growing influence of time on the continent and then added through a translator, what does mr. clinton think about it? >> we have heard about chinese
contracts in this country. the interference from the world bank against this contract. what does mr. clinton think through the mouth of mrs. clinton, and what does mr. motumbo think? thank you. >> you want me to tell you what my husband thinks? my husband is not the secretary of state, i m. -- i am. if you want my opinion, i will tell you my opinion, i will not be channeling my husband. host: first phone call. caller: no one ever complained
about president bush and how he got us into this mess. i wish the republicans would let president obama do his job like we elected him to. thank you. host: gene from minnesota. on the republican line. caller: i have been online looking and different countries health care systems and what it costs. what i am learning is they have value added taxes in canada and england that are probably 17 cents on the dollar. provincial and state taxes go up to 16%. if you add all the taxes that are being paid, it is up 40%, and it is not just on the rich. people making $60,000 a year. i guess at what i would like you
to ask our audience and the people that are for this is how much are they willing to pitch in from their paycheck to support this? rasmussen did a poll that says that they were willing to do $10 per pay day. i laughed. we are paying for college education, health care, we are paying for this, we are paying for that. we are going to end up as a country paying close to 40% in income taxes. that is not just on the rich. we do not have enough rich people in the country to pay for this. it will trickle down to people paying $50,000 or more. ask your viewers how much they are willing to pay for all this stuff they want the government to provide? host: "washington post" a2, when
host: next phone call from ian in chattanooga, tenn. caller: this could go to the last caller as well. i am willing to pay more for health care. as long as it means it will help myself and everyone else get better health care. my point was, i understand the white house is trying to push through some form, even if it is extremely conservative, but i want to ask a question to your viewers, especially the ones who say they are democrats or liberal. what is so wrong with counting the argument from moral rights?
the president in the past says that he governs for the people. if we view providing health care as a moral imperative, why can't we be strong in our convictions and beliefs that is a human right? host: eric, democrat, rockingham, n.c. caller: i hear all these people in an uproar about the government and healthcare, and i have seen a lot of people lose a lot of things, a family member gets sick, and they lose everything from these outrages medical bills. the government runs medicare, they run the veterans medicare part. if they are so upset, let them
find something else. i am glad we are doing something about it. host: house democratic leaders said they will not force the pentagon to buy four jets to carry senior government officials. officials were criticized for having millions to the budget although the pentagon did not request the money. williamsburg, virginia republican line. caller: i just wanted to point out we need lifestyle reform here to battle these chronic diseases. i own a business that is a for- profit that does that in every
neighborhood and in every school in the hampton roads area here in virginia. i have found little support among the powers that be, whether it is the school board or board of supervisors, to encourage healthier lifestyles. host: what is your company? what do you do? caller: i have a custom trailer that has black stands around sound and theater. most recently i worked with the university of virginia for a public housing community day where i had over 100 visitors from the neighborhood ages 3 to 17 who participated in a well as by cried, where they were entertained. -- wellness bike ride, where they were entertained.
athletes play sports, and you do not place ports to become an athlete. schools put large money into gymnasiums build for basketball, not that this. we need to challenge the industrial education complex and some of these other of large buildings being built with public money that really do not serve the public health. host: alexander city, alabama. frank, go ahead. caller: i was hoping to speak to linda douglass. if the president has a bill, where is it? i wanted to ask her why, if he has a bill that he is so proud of, why does he not show it? host: this is from "the
to health care. obama inherited this mess. no one said anything to bush when he got us into this mess and pretty much put us into turmoil. the middle-class is so close to being poor. i am for this health care system. we have to pay taxes anyway. whether it was a republican or democrat in office, taxes would go up, because we have to go past this. at least we get something of of this. -- out of this. host: burlington, north carolina. caller: i am honest enough to admit i am not willing to pay $10 every week for other freeloaders on health care. here is my point, sir. i have people here who do not
have jobs and they are on schip, medicare, medicaid, and some other program. by the way, just so everyone realizes how it tipped off i am, recently in north carolina, the people on the beach made more money. everyone's home insurance rates are going up. what is going on in america? this is a horrible deal. i will take care of my own damn health. goodbye. host: mike, you are next. what is on your mind? caller: i am a retire me who recently lost health insurance because of -- what ever. it would cost me $700 a month,
and being a retiree, who can afford down for health insurance? -- that for health insurance? the republican party is just spreading lies and fear, like they have for so many years. they want people to fear anything they do not agree with. the health-care system -- they do not like the president. maybe president obama's health care plan is not perfect, but you know, the republicans are rejecting it because it may limit profit for insurance companies. republicans say that the obama
plan would restrict or say no to some health care. they already do that. my wife is not able to work because of health problems. insurance companies already restrict some of the care she should be getting. host: earl in fayetteville, n.c. democrat. host: you know the rules, you have to turn down the volume. you can hear everything through your telephone. we will come back to you. rod, a republican in north carolina. caller: this is a big abortion administration.
you heard hillary clinton acting like a child and obama to shut up. do we have children running this country? host: back to earl. caller: republicans have been in office for the past eight years. none of them seem to care about health care until the democrats started this. if they did not care about it while they are in office, why are they preventing the president? host: wheeling, west virginia. carl, go ahead. caller: i have sent letters to my representatives, but, you reduce the cost of health care when you cannot stop health care from blowing up?
we need for reform in the bill, which i do not see. if you check the areas of the country where hospitals and emergency rooms are in the greatest trouble, they are in areas where we have the greatest concentration of illegal aliens. we need to change our immigration laws. until we do that and we put in toward reform, you will not lower the cost of health care -- tort reform, you will not lower the cost of health care. host: this from "the political." probe targets office of conyer's wife.
stockton, california. sandy, hi. caller: i am calling to comment on health care. i am really concerned that americans do not seem to have a grasp on with this president is attempting to do with reform in our healthcare system. right now insurance companies are making billions of dollars, denying care to americans who pay their premiums every month expecting to get the care and treatment that they paid for.
they are not getting that. our health care outcomes are drastically worse than other industrialized countries that have health care for all of their citizens. the kurdcurve in health care cos will begin to go down, instead of up, if we can begin focusing on health care. that is focusing on keeping people healthy. it is unnecessary to treat you in the emergency room, which is the most expensive care. if you are receiving periodic, regular, routine checkups, where potential health problems can be identified early, treated
early, that reduces the cost that we all pay for our health care. right now, we are paying for emergency room visits that increase the cost of your premium because it is a hit in charge. it is a charge that we now pay because the expensive emergency treatment is so high. i am concerned with the vitriol surrounding this debate. i understand there are a lot of people out there who do not like this president for a mere riata of reasons, and you are perfectly entitled to that -- myriad of reasons, and you are perfectly entitled to that.
but the majority of americans elect this president to tackle problems that we have not addressed in over a generation. if we are going to allow a small, very vocal, very bellicose minority of people to wrestle control from this debate and take it into areas that do not serve us as a country, we are going broke. host: just to play into that, the new playbook in the health- care debate. the white house started in the website, whitehouse.gov/realitycheck. in doing so, they were accepting the fact of the difficult reality. next phone call from desert hot
springs, california. william on the republican line. caller: good morning. i've been like to ask my fellow americans, whose parents told them that an employer, when you got a job, your employer owes you health care? that your employer owes you a paid vacation? i never expected that from any employer. further, this health-care thing, what right do i have to demand that someone pays for my health care? if you have a terminal condition like cancer, then maybe the government should have a separate program for you. but i am a better read. i have used veterans services twice in my life. once at the emergency room and once when i had stomach ailments. they told me to come in three months from now. that is a government health care.
host: wooster, massachusetts. albert, go ahead. caller: my concern is that health care and currently does not support progress of their patients. it is nice that you can be a hospital resident and not in the street, but my experience is not true that health care cannot make progress. i was autistic but i have gotten better. i was surrounded by some great people and i have learned to interact better with people. the cost per client has gone up considerably in the past few years. a health care system, even part of it, your doctor is not
next phone call from mary. wellington, florida. caller: i don't know where to begin my husband and i -- where to begin. my husband and i both worked, we are not for, we are rich, we are just the middle class working americans. both of of our employers to not provide health insurance. we tried to get private health insurance on our own for us and our children. the insurance company, we tried all of them, united healthcare, blue cross, humana. all of them wanted to charge us
$800 a month for health care. my husband and i both work and we cannot afford that amount of money. three months ago i lost my job. i cannot believe these people who call themselves americans will not allow the president to come up with something for people like us. some networks, -- someone who works, who does not ask much from the government. i wanted to tell everyone, and the lady from the white house, to please ask that the president to help people like us, to not stand down, keep the public auction. fight for it. we've voted for him. we voted for him because we wanted change. we want him to do this for us. host: thank you.
"wall street journal" -- lawmakers take a recess for distant shore. they talk about some of the trips being taken by members of congress. john painter, republican leader in the house -- john boehner, republican leader in the house is in mongolia. jim webb is in southeast asia. bobby rush, spending some time in africa. keith ellison is going to kenya. next phone call. caller: it is the insurance. if we have insurance, and with his health care, more people will have to go on this government health care, and we are afraid interest will have to go up because less people will
be on it. we will be forced to go on to government health care because we will not be able to afford it. this government is just paying more money and obama has already said, our country is broke. health care has got to be reformed. yes, but it needs common-sense. people who are 86 years old and they might get cancer, they are going to say, go home and die. we will just take care of you -- just give you some pills so that you do not hurt. my mother is through chemotherapy right now. i am afraid that when i get that old, they will just tell me to die. host: in 10 minutes, the mayor of phoenix will be here to take
your call about the economic situation in his city. his name is phil gordon. if you have a message, or if you are from phoenix and you would like to participate, we would like to hear from you. this story on kuwait. six members of the group plotting attacks during ramadan were arrested. next phone call from kenny in sarasota, fla. caller: i am one of the original physician assistants the army trained for vietnam. now i see what is happening in our reform system, and without getting rid of the greed that
has become so americanized, we also need help education. i have a program i have been trying to get off the ground, in the school system, to begin teaching human growth. why is physical education based on balls, bats, who to in court? we need a structure where the human body is being taught and we understand the reality of our growth, the gifts that we have such as balance, coordination, stamina, read them. we are the only animal without our read them -- we do not wake up and have to stretch like all of the animals do. host: bill in st. charles, missouri. caller: our country is broke. we do not have money for health care. we spent $3 trillion messing around in iraq over a lie.
we do not need health insurance, we need psychiatric care because americans are crazy. when are we going to stop murdering the people in iraq and afghanistan based on a lie, and put george bush and dick cheney, and the rest of those clowns in jail? until we do that, forget about health care. host: this in the "washington post" -- blast kills 50 in iraq. this from "the washington times." fed expected to keep rate near 0.
in jamestown, ky. republican line. caller: i would just like to say, this is a free trade company. until you can control that, you cannot do anything with health care because politics will always make health care and complicated. host: minnesota. chris on the independent line. caller: i think the biggest issue facing the country is the government. i do not know how you can solve health care reform without fixing the government. the government has been a big problem for 60 years. that is our biggest obstacle.
host: how do you fix the government? caller: by electing more confident leaders. i have no trust in obama or bush. i think both of them are liars. they have not lived up to any of their campaign promises. host: who is a politician you admire? caller: i would probably say ralph nader. host: what they do in minnesota? what is the economy like? caller: i'm a cook. i would say unemployment in my county was maybe 8%, perhaps higher. host: are you having a busy tourist season? caller: it is not what it was a few years ago. host: thank you.
chuck in st. mary's, ohio. caller: i think president obama is missing the boat on a few things. i am a middle-class ohio person. like most of violence, i am laid off. -- ohioans, i am laid off. i have no problem paying $10 every month. the system is broke. if we do not do something drastic, we are not going to see any success. host: where were you laid off from? caller: on was a welder. i worked on vehicles. we worked on vehicles that had a specialty purpose for a niche . in the restaurant business.
during the credit card crisis, there were a bunch of people that were laid off. host: thank you for calling in. up next, the mayor of phoenix. first, a news update from c-span radio. >> more reaction to the death of eunice kennedy shriver. president obama in a statement said mrs. shriver was "an extraordinary woman and a chicken for the rights of the mentally disabled." he'd been right to her for founding the special olympics, saying she taught our nation and world that no physical or mental barrier can restrain the power of the human spirit. continuing her travels in africa, secretary of state hillary clinton is calling for an end to the sexual violence happening in the eastern congo. she is now in this city of the goma, the city at the center of
such crimes. the obama administration has gotten so much interest in its plan for a fall summit on texting while driving at the event has been expanded from one day to two. the distracted driving some it will examine texting and driving. it will take place in september. . the chevrolet volt should get 230 miles per gallon in city driving. gm says it should be the first
car to break into triple digits gas mileage when the figure is confirmed in epa tests. it is due in showrooms in november of 2010. and those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> "washington journal" continues. host: we are pleased to be joined by phoenix -- from phoenix, ariz., by the mayor, mayor gordon. i want to talk about the economic situation and the city. what are you facing right now? guest: it is tough. the city of phoenix that has led in job creation for four years is now towards a the bottom in terms of job losses. we have been facing challenges we historically have not had to face. this city has been moving through it, both reducing the budget significantly, as much as 30% and a lot of departments, except for police and fire, and
also investing in the future using the bond projects to create jobs and partner with the government of these projects. that has stemmed the hemorrhaging, and we are optimistic we are at the bottom or at least seeing the light and will be moving forward. host: you have about 8.2% unemployment rate, according to the u.s. department labor, lower than the national average. where did it start once it hit phoenix? where was employment at that point? guest: we were down under 5% at that point, and were worried about a point or a point and a half around that average when the recession hit. while we fortunately are under the 10 percent that a lot of cities experienced, 8.5% is still way too many families. a million and a half in the city, another 3 million around the valley. we have tens of thousands of
people who have been working who are not working any more. we are working to figure out how to solve that problem together with the federal government. host: what about the foreclosure rate in the area? guest: construction, particularly residential, has been a big part of the economy this starkly. now because of both the recession and the unemployment and really the still lack of availability of free flowing credit that is based on wordiness, our foreclosures are at a historic high. last year in 2008 we had about 15,000 foreclosures. the first six months alone we had over 8000. that doesn't include multifamily or town homes or condos in northern retail or commercial foreclosures. host: what effect has it had on your city's budget and tax revenue? guest: sales tax significantly.
construction sales taxes, 30% or 35% of the sales tax revenue, half the budget. that is a big chunk. secondly, with the lack of jobs in construction, the lack of buying power for families for buying computers and cars. third, vacancies in homes have created in neighborhood blight in certain areas, and criminal activity. squatters, transients, and and a number of cases, drug dealers to move in the middle of the night. which absentee owners, banks across the country -- there is no one to handle the complaints so the police are using a lot of resources in the neighborhood service departments that we normally would not have to use, which again is a further decrease in terms of available revenue. host: have any stimulus money come, and if that has, hasn't have an effect?
guest: yes, it has. obviously we would like that amount that has been allocated to flow quicker. it is starting to flow. it currently phoenix has $270 million, at an all-time high, of federal money allocated to us. 50 million has been authorized to be released. we put that to work right away. all the money we are getting from the federal government is going to create jobs, private industry jobs, or maintain some city jobs but nothing going to balance our budget. we have seen in the effects from a small projects, roofing projects to runway expansion. we had an individual on television the other day who was thanking the administration and the city because he was laid off a couple of months ago, has three children and a wife and is now back to work. those are great funds. i want to thank the administration and also the vice
president and his staff's work to expedite the funds. we worked closely with the administration. we apply just in foreclosure, we received $40 million to help acquire blighted properties for downpayment assistance. even in the foreclosure. , we have seen positive affects the we have for the areas to go. host: if you live in phoenix and would like to talk to your mayor, 628-0184 is the number for you to dial. what is your city's annual budget? guest: annual budget is about a billion and a half dollars, what we call a general revenue. money that comes from sales tax and the state. the non-revenue or user fees -- airport, water, develop and fees
is another billion and a half. about $3 billion. we reduced our budget over the last four years by about $250 million in the general fund. you can see that is a good 15% to 18%. we eliminated about 1400 positions over the last four years. we had layoffs as opposed to absorption. we had a hiring freeze for two years. we had about 100 layoffs this year for the first time. we are learning to do a lot more for a lot less. we have balanced budget, aaa trip -- credit rating. so i am very proud of the management and financial team. and we are investing in the future, so it is not just slashing or cutting, but again, we are not able to expand services. we are a growing city. an important distinction from other cities facing these economic challenges. we still continue to grow. sobersides above lack of revenue
for essentials -- so, besides the lack of revenue for essential services we already have, we are growing every day and therefore new services were needed. host: the president is coming out to see you all this week. go ahead. guest: i was saying, we are excited. he will be greeting the veterans of foreign wars, and importance conference. i think his fourth trip to arizona since he has been elected. we are hoping that he and the administration will spend more time here. because arizona, in particular phoenix, the fifth largest city in the united states. not only an important element for recovery but also the future of the country. host: let us take some calls. first up, on the democrats' line, from columbia, tennessee. you are on with mayor phil lorton of the phoenix. caller: good morning to all of
you. i appreciate what c-span is doing. i would like to ask him a question that i am sure he can help us with a related to what is going on in tennessee. i am sure he works for the governor, too, getting plans for the stimulus package they are receiving. this sludge field from tva happening, we have news they will pass that on to taxpayers. through our electric bills. i was wondering if phil as may be enlightenment on what the government can do as far as the stimulus package. i don't know why the mayor and the governor of tennessee can't say, we've got the government's
stimulus package coming in and that may give the tva relief to help them clean up the mess as that of pushing it on to the poor consumers. host: mr. mayor? guest: first of all, i think the environment is both an opportunity for job creation and certainly what we need to protect for the future generations. i am having an of difficulty in arizona in terms of trying to create the jobs and trying to get our republican legislature and gov. to focus on working in d.c. but the federal government. i leave that unfortunately for the of collar, the tennessee mayor and also the governor to work with the federal government. but that is a great opportunity, it sounds like. host: married in connecticut on the independent line. -- mary.
caller: i have a question for you. you were a sanctuary city -- illegal aliens. you would not have your 8.5% unemployment rate if you would take care of the problem. the nation as a whole is suffering from the spirited we have good people who do not have jobs who would get jobs if these people were not here. please answer my question. i don't wish to be cut off. and i would like to know how you as mayor of phoenix will address that problem. host: mr. mayor? audit, i want to first say we are not a sanctuary city, both by the governor standards and the conservative radio talk hosts across the country. the city of phoenix enforces immigration laws as it relates to criminals, but not matter whether you are here legally or not.
the city of phoenix police alone, and arrests over 15,000 violent criminals that are here illegally every year. we cooperate with the federal government. we are to my knowledge the only city that has ice agents embedded in the police to share information and work the streets. what we don't do is, given the amount of criminals on the streets illegally trading in guns and drugs and people, take those police officers away to start doing immigration inspections at work forces or picking up individuals on the street because of the color of their skin. they commit a crime -- once they are in this city, the good of jail. we enforce that. what we need, though, is the federal government to secure the borders, too, with a total immigration policy so that the country than 10 enforce those laws. the city of phoenix, 200 miles, 150 miles from the border.
one city in the nation, we are a transportation depot for the rest of the country but we are not the only one. and we need the federal government and other cities to do it. our unemployment rate, people would argue, because individuals have driven away those here illegally as well as legally have increased. that is a different debate. the fact of the matter -- the fact of the matter, our police arrest criminals if they commit crime. host: the president said yesterday that immigration reform, if any, will be put into 2010. what is your reaction? guest: first of all, i am very concerned that immigration reform continues to be caught up in an extreme rhetoric debate. in the interim, cities like ours and others run the country are suffering. individuals are suffering and not just those here for decades
undocumented that have been a contributing, but family members who are legally here, individuals who are fighting for our country whose families are being persecuted and driven underground, we need a system today to help prevent crime, to help our economy, and also to make sure that the civil rights are respected for all individuals. right now the rhetoric is so dangerous and the hate is so elevated by individuals that we continue to ignore, i think, a crucial element of the economic recovery, public safety and the work that is important to propel our city and country to the future. host: allen, independent line. caller: how are you doing? my state was, i am a college graduate, a decorated war veteran, 40 years old, but i have been fired from the job.
had a family member, we have a family member who was involved in military dating back to the buffalo soldiers. what is the motivation of continuing down this road? you can see how the game is being played. what is my motivation to not move to canada or the u.k.? understand the employment issue, but like asset, being a college graduate and decorated war veteran and being treated the way i have been treated and go work force is very uncool. host: any response to that gentleman? guest: first, let me thank him and everyone who served our country. that i am humbled by and never have the honor to serve but enjoying the benefits of those sacrifices that he and his family has made and others. i don't know that the country could ever repay him. that is why this seat -- city of
phoenix and the federal government, gives preference on points in hiring because of veterans service. unfortunately we in this city's -- like other cities are in a hiring freeze. but we anticipate in late fall we will be. secondly, if he wants to call my office, 262-7111, we will look it up with our job counseling and our veterans liaison to see if we can help. i hope he will not move out of our city where this country. unfortunately the employment picture is not much better and some other parts of the world, including the uk. and in terms of any -- if there are violations based on the service or any other reason, the equal opportunity division, would look into that. host: about 1.6 million people
live in the phoenix area, according to the u.s. census bureau. you talked about the fact you are still growing. how do you get water? guest: let me say, we are a valid. the city is 1.6 million. the rest of the valley is another 3 million beard we actually need water and resources -- we anticipate in the next 20 years that will double, almost 9 million people. that is a lot of growth. the city of phoenix and the state under gov. babbitt before he became secretary, he enacted a critical ground water management act that -- all cities needing 100-year supply of water. the city of phoenix is using the same amount of water now than we used a decade ago, through both technology and education, not regulation. we invested in a central arizona project, it brings us about 40%
of the water through the lower colorado through a series of canals up to phoenix. and also the groundwater, the runoff from the snow mountains of north, through the salt river project, including investing in water ranches. water valleys of that can be connected to the canals to bring the water to us. we are in a desert. we treasure both the principal defense and the water very highly. but we have water for growth -- just smart " we are focused on and sustainable growth. host: bill in miami, florida. democrat. on with mayor phil gordon from phoenix. caller: i forgot my question -- but i have another question in mind for you. our property taxes here in miami have gone up quite a bit.
i do not know if it is true, but will go will begin. in our area, we do public works -- money is going to, i would say for private enterprises. we are building a stadium for the marlins, and i don't understand why we are using public money, money that should be going for roads or schools or public interest. and i feel that government should curtail on things, like spending for private industry with our money. maybe the team should pay for it. i think they make more than enough money. what do you think about that? host: mr. mayor? guest: thank you. first, tell your mayor, a good
friend, -- at least come visit, we could use some of the sales tax. on the issue of stadiums and construction, my perspective is, we need to prioritize. we need to make sure we are creating jobs. again, the private sector, if they are creating jobs and it is an asset that is truly a public asset, that is a great investment. whether a stadium is or isn't, depending on the revenue and depending on how it is structured -- you know, i am going to leave that to the local voters. the same issues that have blown up here in arizona. i will say when there is a winning team, that revenue that is generated is an important post. we had some important playoff games, all-star games. on the other hand, if it is strictly going into the pocket of any private individual or corporation, then i think that
is not an appropriate use. i sent you have to look at how it is being structured, how benefits will flow and how many jobs are being created both end creation and afterward? tourism host:, upper down? guest: significantly down. rates are attractive, air fare is track -- attractive. phoenix probably one of the leading resort areas in the country, with golf courses and all of the amenities. with people being laid off, the tourist industry is being hit significantly, and that has had a significant impact on the revenues that governors -- governments as well as private have and joy. host: wayne from phoenix. on with mayor gordon. caller: my name is win. i am calling from tucson, but i grew up in phoenix. we do have a lot of nice resorts
in phoenix. i want to congratulate you on phoenix spending $600 million to own a resort. i don't know where it came from. my primary concern is i live in tucson because phoenix is so violence because, first off, it take the funds from anyone trying to do anything to do about immigration in our city. last time i had my windows shot out, then my car stolen. i can't live there. i grew up in south phoenix, and that used to be a nice. and all there is not as taco stands and graffiti and check cashing places. if you want comprehensive immigration, that means give everyone permission to stay here, how is that going to believe that the problems? if there is not enough work for people like me, would use to call the working poor, now you cannot work unless he speaks spanish. it is my country, i may veteran, i tried to do everything right but you are not on my side.
i remember in the 1960's try to get his city job, telling me if my name was garcia i have a better chance. host: mr. mayor? guest: first, let me say, i think the problem with this country not being able to solve the immigration is because i think both of the frustration that the caller just expressed an extreme labels that cannot really do justice. the city of phoenix, according to the fbi, has had some of the best criminal reduction records in the country. in fact, we didn't receive additional funding under the cops program, as a result that we did have a reduced crime for the last three years in a row. the only moot -- the only major city to have and in all categories. we are very proud. secondly, as i explained
earlier, city of phoenix is about 30% of public safety work force in the state and about 40% to 45% in the valley. the rest of the vast majority, 50% plus, of all of those illegals in our county jails. to say the city of phoenix police is not doing their work and does not save really is not fair and correct. with respect to bell road, a new major investments, both car dealerships, economic development, small businesses -- whether it is thunderbird, camelback -- this city is growing. i think the caller's experience is really unique in today's world as opposed to what he experienced almost five decades ago. host: what is your bliss and
ship with the county sheriff? guest: i don't think i am on his christmas card list. given the investigation going on by the justice department, both criminal and civil rights and of lawsuits occurring, at this point, i leave the police into our police chief and the department and sheriff. host: last call, west palm beach, fla., republican. caller: independent. research and development in solar technology, you could create a new field of education, working, use the stimulus, cash for clunkers, anything. because you are living in the sun bank. use that and the people will enjoy you for it. guest: i couldn't agree more.
that is why phoenix in december under my leadership came out with the green phoenix plant, 17-point comprehensive plan of what they are doing and not what we want to do and partnering with the federal government on how to expand that, green rai corel dollar, community college high school for-your system for creating new green collar jobs. converting the buildings to solar and renewable. reducing the heat and the carbon output within the valley. servicing -- installation and maintenance, technology, development out of the universities. not only in solar but in biological conversion through plants. phoenix should be and will be the solar capital, since we have 365 days out of the year of sunshine, one form or another.
-- and also with a stable, flat from a geographic platform. we don't have floods, we don't have earthquakes. we are very stable and we are ready for it. host: "the wall street journal" this morning, one of the air -- editorials praised the governor's plan, her tax plan coming out for the state of arizona. the is that affect you, is that a good thing, in your view? guest: we are the only state in my knowledge that does not have a balanced budget. the republican house and senate and the governor had not been able to put any budget together, which means we continue to go further and further in debt. in fact, we have a higher debt problem than california does in percentage of people and our capital. and then the proposed budget is devastating to cities.
while the governor has minimized the impact, the proposals that are being floated will impact our ability to build fire stations, police stations, libraries, senior centers, and deliver service. not only for the city of phoenix, but for all of our stakeholders. this budget believes and slashing budgets, slashing investments and then putting the tax burden on those who can least afford it. so i am perplexed as to what the logic is in any of these proposals that are being floated. i do agree with the governor that we probably need some type of interim sales tax, but i think we need to be able to share that revenue points of police officers and firefighters and continue to be paid. host: but last call is from cottonwood, ariz.. steve is on the line. caller: yes.
i have been living in arizona for 23 years. i worked in phoenix for about 18 years. i will tell you, i have seen so many illegal immigrants meeting in phoenix. it is just killing me. -- it is just killing the construction business. i worked in oregon and montana, and i come here in a right to work state and making what i did back in the 1980's because of all of the illegals here. you have been fighting -- every step of the way. the whole thing, the police chief of phoenix, he is a democrat and he won't let his officers ask if they are illegal or whatever. host: we will have to live there. mayor gordon, a sharp response? guest: number one, i did not
know what the chief police -- he is a professional and recognized, the most respected -- most respected. no. two, with inviting the issues. number three, the officers have a policy that is supported, in fact a model for the country. the other agencies have done it, when it is appropriate, and not based on race but a violation of law as to the legal status. and they arrest. again, i think there is a lot of misunderstanding and unfortunately individuals like the sheriff had targeted people because of the color of their skin. i don't know how you determine whether it individuals are legal or illegal because of either the color of their skin as to whether -- or their necks and, particularly in border states where we have some individuals who are citizens for generations. host: phil gordon, the mayor of phoenix. thank you for spending a half- hour on " washington journal" this morning. tomorrow, the mayor of
youngstown, ohio, and thursday, the mayor of indianapolis, to talk about economic conditions in their cities. gerald seib, assistant managing editor 4 "the wall street journal" for the last half-hour. >> the president's national economic council director lawrence summers will speak about retirement security at the retirement research conference. live coverage at noon eastern here on c-span. the president and self is an portsmouth, new hampshire, for a town hall meeting on health care. mike allen of the political writing this morning that the town hall will focus on pre- existing conditions. that is at 1:00 p.m. eastern. >> every morning this month, " washington journal" talks live
to topknot -- top notch offers. -- offers. we will take calls , e-mails, taketweets, starting this friday morning when c-span. sunday, the creature bidding editor and columnist for newsweek magazine on his public radio series, against the odds, that profiles people who overcome significant obstacles on life. sunday night at 8:00 on c-span. >> this fall, entered the home to america's highest court, from the grand public places, to those only accessible by the nine justices, the supreme court, coming the first sunday in october on c-span. >> "washington journal" continues. host: gerald seib, who is winning the health care debate? guest: a good question. i think it'll make a very good
argument that nobody is winning. it has morphed in so many ways. i think the white house is not winning the debate, but it does not necessarily mean they are losing the debate, if i can sort of draw a fine wine. i think what has happened is there has been another opposition to the plan that house drew up -- people have to remember, there is no barack obama plan. playbill in one committee in the house and one and another committee in the house and one in the senate. somewhere and there is the thing the white house wants to accomplish. i think the opposition, but they have done is made everybody realized that if something comes out of congress, will in the end of the smaller, less expensive and probably less expansive than the white house democrats started. i think there is a very good chance something will happen toward the end of the year. i think we will end up with something more a incremental rather than sweeping. i'm not sure it is a bad thing
from anybody's point of view. host: i know we are in the midst of this debate right now on health care. you have been a longtime observer of this town. once we get into a debate like this, is it important who is running -- winning, is it important scores points? what happens in september? guest: it is important in this town because we like to keep the score of every inning. but i was reminded today that in an epic battle in 1986 over tax reform that have been just over there in the capital, the idea of a big tax reform bill which then administration of ronald reagan pushed and both partisan congress said they wanted to have happen, was near death numerous times before in the end a bill was produced. so you have to be careful not to call these games to early and not to get to we caught up in who is up and down the middle of the game. i think what matters in the white house is to get a bill done in each house and get to
conference where i think at that point, the president and the white house will really exert influence. that is when you will see what the bottom line is, what president obama will live with and what does he think is not acceptable. we do not know right now because we're in a shocking position. if you get a bill -- then i think you'll find of a the end product will look like. host: when is the last time you saw members of congress having the reaction at town hall meetings that you have seen this time? guest: in a way, never. because there has never been an attempt to use town hall meetings to make a point quite the way it is being done right now. i think there have been occasions -- and i think there is a comparison to be drawn to the 1993-1994 health care debate. that may be the last time you had so many people engaged also many friends. and maybe that health care is a topic that does that to this country. there is an agreement that everybody shares to some degree or another that the current
system does not work very well. that the system is too clunky, too expensive, and too frustrating. but there is not really consensus as to what to do about that. people forget that when the bush administration tried to push health savings accounts, an idea on the opposite side of the political spectrum, in some ways, they found lots of opposition there is so every idea encounters resistance because this is a very personal topic. host: in your column in "the wall street journal," it tied to the bailout assistance -- you tied to the bailout assistance. guest: to some extent it is not about health care, it is about something broader. what is the role of a government in the american economy and in the american society? i think to some extent, that is the issue that is on the table, and a very emotional subject because of all that happened in the last year.
because we have been in a deep recession, we have seen the government intrude into the private economy in ways that scares some people. the government bailed out the financial and industry, and as a result, the merged logic majority takeover -- stakeholder of aig and citibank. it bailed out the housing industry, bail out all the makers and as a result is the majority shareholder in chrysler and have a big stake in gm. so the issue in the background is, how much government activity should there be in the private economy. as a result of that, the question of whether there should be a public auction, a public health insurance plan to compete with private insurers has become a centerpiece of the debate and it really was not the centerpiece before this year and a campaign last year was barely discussed. but now because of this public awareness that the government is taking on new roles in the economy, the question of whether it have on 244 now will go too
far and health care has become a very big subject and one white house has to deal with and one that has given the republicans' opening for people who are nervous about that. host: the numbers on the screen, in case you want to call in. c-spanwj, is our twitter address. rick santorum, in a fund-raising letter for the rnc, said he is comparing 2010 to 1994. for republicans -- good year for republicans. guest: you know, some people are starting to see that. if you look at the poll that we at "the wall street journal" did two weeks ago with nbc news, you are starting to see a real weakening in democrats' numbers. i can see why senator rick santorum will start to move to that conclusion. you have people trusting democrats less on things like candle in the deficit, on taxes. congress is job approval is not great, has not been great.
and congress is run by the democrats. and president obama's popularity is lower than it was. all of those pointed to a potential of a good republican year next year. on top of all that, give the obvious fact that democrats have more seats to defend than they used to so they are more vulnerable to lose seats. that is just reality. the economy seems to be stabilizing, may be turning around. you don't know how the health debate will turn out and never know what surprises are out there. so the political picture in august of 2009 could look vastly different by december of 2009, or certainly january 2010, which is to say it is very early. but right now, it looks like they may have something to smile about. host: one more thing -- hillary clinton yesterday in the congo. just want to show the video and
get your response. >> people heard about the chinese contracts in this country -- interference from the world bank again to this contract. what does mr. clinton think through the wild -- mouth of mrs. clinton and what does mr. mcdonnell think on this situation, to weather much. it thank you very much. -- thank you very much. >> wait, you want me to tell you what my husband thinks. my husband is not the secretary of state, i am. you ask my opinion, i will tell you my opinion. i will not be channeling my husband. guest: i guess my reaction is, i can't really blame her. she is the secretary of state.
the question -- i think people speculate whether something was literally lost in the translation. if that was really what the questioner intended to ask for. first of all, i don't think she should speak for bill clinton and second book, i think she is secretary of state and i guess she is entitled to respond that way. i suppose if she had to do over again, she might be a little bit cooler. but it is a perfectly human reaction. host: gerald seib is our guest. california, stephanie. you are first. caller: good morning. everything but host -- the guest just said. first of all, the republican party action and makes up maybe 20% to 30% of the whole population and that is pretty much all you have. we are the baby -- baby boomers, too. we are not afraid of government. we know that we control the government or we are the government. let me give you an example.
we know that tort reform does not work. all tort reform does is cap what victims can receive if there is an incident between them and the doctor. we know that savings accounts will not reduce medical costs because -- are you going to get part of the surgery this and next year because you used up all of your savings account? it does not do anything to reduce medical costs. we do know that manacle costs as it stands, we will not be able to -- i have insurance myself and every year i pay more money for less services. host: what did you hear? guest: as i said, when i mentioned health savings accounts, and is the perfect illustration, that i did not fly. it was no more popular during the bush era than the health care bills discuss now are for exactly the reasons the caller
cited. this is why health care is a difficult topic. none of the solutions are perfectly satisfactory to everybody. which may be the best argument for changing the system because if everyone is unhappy with some aspects of it, it is probably right for reform, the question is how you do it. on the broader question of where democrats danvers republicans, we ask a question in our poll two weeks ago, what do you want the outcome of the election of 2010 to bay ridge, was controlled by democrats or republicans? democrats are still ahead by a few points in our poll on the question. republicans have come even in some other polls. i think the point is democrats were way ahead on that question just a few months ago. it has clearly been a closing of the gap. but as i said, it is early, it is a long way to go. i do not think we know yet the key variable in the 2010 election. just what the economy is going to feel like to the average voter. host: for nancy pelosi and harry reid to write the word un-
american instead of off-the- cuff speech in that, what does is say to you? guest: i am surprised they used the term. i think that is probably -- it pleases the democratic base, it is probably politically very risky to say that because clearly there is some organization behind the town hall meetings, but there is clearly also some gentleman -- genuine sentiment there. you have people showing up to voice their opinion, and whether it is an organized activity or not, it is an american activity. i would have thought they would probably steer clear of those types of terms and try to stay above it. it will be interesting to see what happens when president obama has his own town hall meeting today and see what kind of reaction he gets. host: austin, colorado. republican. caller: my question has to do with more of the deficit that is going to accelerate with the
government-run health care. we are approaching the $12.10 trillion deficit in october, and there is a price tag between 800 billion up to $1.20 trillion from a few months ago. with the increasing unemployment rate, the numbers will be more. is this exactly the most appropriate time to go into government-run health care program? and what will the actual price tag be? host: that is the topic of your august 7 column. guest: i think the deficit is a big issue obviously, and one that is getting bigger over time. it is actually having a political impact, not an abstract notion appeared i think the connection between health care and deficit is important both in practical terms and political terms. because of the exact sentence the reader -- excuse me, the listener just expressed. the administration is and has to
be very careful to say whatever health bill is passed will have to pay for itself, and other words, will not add to the deficit. people are skeptical about this. but the ultimate bill is going to be in the $900 billion range probably over 10 years. what the white house has to be able to say to people, and what president obama has to say, is this will not add to the deficit, which is already going to be $1.20 trillion this year. mammoth numbers. health care may require additional taxes. it certainly will require cuts in medicare fees. but a political matter cannot be seen as -- it is a big enough problem. even if that is the case, there is the question of how we deal with the deficit. how do we deal with the $1.80 trillion deficit this year and a $1.40 trillion next year. even if we manage to come up
with a health over all that does not add to that, we still have a substantial problem. that will be a big topic of debate for the next two or three years. host: bob is a democrat from california. caller: thank you. in the late 1980's i created the first competitive analysis program that actually compared one health plan to another, it does not matter who issued it, there were 04 -- over a thousand there nobody knew how to make sense of them or compare them to each other. basically group certificates, group insurance, isn't portable, they are subject to cancellation by the employer, or the carrier on a selective basis. they require you to be employed
full time to secure coverage under them. they could force you through their conversion trap, the policy the carrier increases premiums on from 100 percent or 500% or more. that triggers, when you are no longer a full time employees, and no longer to work because you are disabled -- host: what would you like to see done? caller: at the time, the best health plan in the nation was issued by reserve life, an individual policy, it was unlimited in coverage, paid anywhere in the world. customary and reasonable expenses for whatever happens to you. individual plants are portable, not subject to individual firm of rate increases for employers wins. they are not subject to cobra -- they don't have conversion plans.
so therefore, individual plans cover those long-term catastrophic conditions like transplants. host: that is what you would like to see done nationally? caller: there is no reason to have a group health plan. guest: well, you know, it is an interesting argument because it really sort of illustrate what the white house wanted to start referring to this as health insurance reform -- insurance reform as much as health reform. because the issues really start with health insurance. -- the health insurance system, which is kind of an anachronism. it is and employer-based system that may or may not be relevant in the 21st century, may or may not work in the 21st century. the interesting point the caller argue, he is making the case some of the opposite of what others think, that you have to
be able to pull people in the insurance market to be able to have economies of scale to be able to hold down the cost, the bookmaking individuals than for themselves is a difficult thing in that market because individuals will have to bother on policies inevitably end up paying more than people part of a group. in any case, i think the argument that health insurance needs to be portable -- which is to say, as you move from job to job, or in and out of the employment force, people will increasingly need to carry it with them, pick and as the retailer to people individual needs, there is consensus -- and it has to be tailored to people's individual needs. this is why much of the debate is really about health insurance. host: wouldn't -- it would seem an employer like gm or news corp. or whoever would like to get rid of their health-care expenses. is that a fair statement? guest: i think there is an inclination among employers, particularly auto makers, who
realized that have saddled themselves with enormous long- term costs by providing health coverage and very expensive coverage to not just employees but retirees. they would like a way out. on the other hand, i think one of the reasons why employer- sponsored is the norm in this country because they use it as a way to attract workers, to keep skilled people. there is still that in polls in the workplace. there is also the realization -- and the health debate is bringing this to the fore as well -- that even if employers are not the providers of health insurance in the first instances, they are going to be the pairs one way or the other. for that they are not providing health insurance in any form, -- employers don't get off the hook here. i think the question is it is there a more important way to write health insurance -- then to but the entire burden of not just paying for but on the backs of employers.
host: will you send a reporter to send -- cover the president's town hall? guest: we tend to go with the president when he is on the road, and particularly when he is doing important speaking agent. this one of not just important, but interesting. host: it will be live on c-span at 1:00 p.m. this afternoon. live town hall. missou, barbour, republican appeared on the co -- missouri, barbara, republican. caller: hello. i have an opinion about health care but that is not what i want to talk about. i want to talk about the town hall meetings. i think i am more distressed than i have ever been concerning the people that we hear from like you on " wall street journal" and what have you have completely forgotten that the town hall, from the beginning of our republic, the town hall is where we go to discuss
differences and grievances and to get new law is enacted. the town hall belongs to the people. and that is not coming across. it just distresses me. it goes -- host: have you attended one this month? caller: i haven't. i'm 75. but i sure watched them on television, every channel, not just one. but it distresses me what they are doing with the town hall meetings. guest: i certainly agree that people -- as i said, i think it is questionable that you should call these things un american-, that is what happens in a democracy and i think it is totally acceptable and in many ways commendable that people show up to say what they think. that is what town hall meetings are about.
i think it has become controversial because of the tactics, and not because of the fact that people showing up in voicing their opinion. the caller is absolutely right, that is the point. why have one if you are just having a one-way conversation. host: senator ben cardin for marilyn held one last night. we will show it to you tonight at c-span at 8:00 p.m.. there is some video from last night's town hall meeting. you see people getting up there getting ready to question him and there were protesters out front, etcetera. you will see that tonight at 8:00 p.m.. wisconsin. patty. you are on the line with gerald seib. caller: good morning. i have a couple of comments. a first of all, the town halls -- the meetings, i think it is un-american and a sense that some people are interfering with
people giving their opinion, and the object being rude, in my opinion. secondly, my sister had to health problems 10 years apart and they had to declare bankruptcy twice so something needs to be done. they are going to be retiring, or eligible soon. they have nothing to retire on because it has all been used up and the are going to be on government assistance in some ways. insurance companies for -- republicans say there has to be competition and that would make the price go down for insurance. but where was in this competition before when it was an open market? where was the competition and how is it going to get in now? guest: it is a useful reminder that the one thing everybody agrees on in the debate is that the system is too expensive and getting more so at a very rapid rate.
the amount of money the country spends on health care is increasing at an alarming rate. has increased at an alarming rate. one of the goals of health care reform, which again, somewhat lost in the debate at the moment, is to do something to hold down health-care costs. not just individuals but, frankly, the federal government. the biggest source of the deficits we were talking about and the biggest long-term threat to fiscal balance in the government's books is health care costs. so, what ever happens, there has to be some attempt made to hold down costs within the system as a whole. both sides agreed that when you do health care reform and you have not done something to keep the cost down, you fail to individuals and with the government has to do to take care of itself. host: how much reaction did you get to yesterday's "the wall street journal" article about the taliban winning. guest: not a fair amount, but i
think but person saying that is the commander of the troops in afghanistan. in truth he has been saying similar things, that trend lines were going in the wrong direction. i think americans a sort of sense that. pin we are eight years into this effort in afghanistan and the sense that we are going to have to start over again tells people that things are not going well. i think what has changed is a new aggressive effort by the u.s., and the thing what general mcchrystal was saying in that interview is that the talegrand is gaining ground and in a sense winning, but we have an opportunity to turn around. and actually think new tactics in afghanistan and a fairly new and i think surprisingly aggressive strategy by the government of pakistan is the taliban and al qaeda elements that sit on that side of the border, feeding into the conflict into afghanistan, both
positive signs. i think it is going to be a while yet in both places but i think if you look at things in the ground in afghanistan and pakistan this summer and say those are encouraging signs host: mississippi. democrat. only a few minutes left. caller: i would urge people if they get the things out of their ears when it concerns democrats trying to tell them about the plan, they will learn something and they would not be so confused about the issue. if we don't do something now, if the republicans happen to get back in office, in control in 2010, we are going to be in the same situation that we are in now, complaining about health care. guest: i think there is some wisdom in that comment, that is what i still think something will likely happen this year. i don't think people go to the end of the and say, did we have this debate and do nothing again?
if democrats have to do something all by themselves and if it is only an incremental start to the changing, i still think that is the more likely outcome then nothing happening at all. i think it is important for the democrats to do something for their own political reasons, but it is also probably the case where if you can start with something smaller and more incremental, i think everyone -- i think that is the most likely outcome. host: last call. staff from indianapolis. republican. caller: you touched upon something that i was a little concerned about, and you were talking about over the last year how the landscape of what kind of the role the government plays in our lives has changed. my question would be, as the government takes over the banks, or some of the banks, and they took over some of the production lines,